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October 31, 2014

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Comic Soupy Sales passes away at 83

by Allison Waldman, posted Oct 23rd 2009 11:35AM
soupy_sales_2When I was a kid, I remember watching Soupy Sales. He had a children's show, The Soupy Sales Show, on channel five in the New York area and he was a wacky, funny guy. He had bizarre creatures around him, puppets named Pookie and White Fang and Black Tooth. Soupy did outrageous things and often ended up with a pie in the face. In a lot of ways, there might have been no PeeWee Herman if there hadn't been a Soupy Sales. In my memory, I always liked Soup and liked his show. On Thursday, Soupy Sales died at the age of 83.

In addition to The Soupy Sales Show, Soupy was a comedian. He played clubs and did shtick, and all through the 1960s and 1970s he was a regular on game shows, including What's My Line, To Tell the Truth, Match Game and Hollywood Squares.

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Larry Gelbart dead at 81

by Joel Keller, posted Sep 12th 2009 8:42AM
Larry GelbartYesterday brought sad news for anyone who's a comedy writer, aspired to be a comedy writer, or just appreciated a well-turned and funny phrase. Larry Gelbart passed away; he had been diagnosed with cancer earlier this year. He died at his Los Angeles home yesterday morning at the age of 81.

Gelbart is probably best known for his writing on M*A*S*H during its early years. The almost lyrical comedic dialogue he gave Hawkeye, Trapper, and the rest of the gang is what drew me to the show, and he influenced almost everyone who worked on the show afterwards, including FOS (Friend of Squad) Ken Levine, who was just "too devestated" to write a tribute on his blog (expect one on Monday, though).

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Hilary Duff Joins 'Gossip Girl' & More TV News

by Andrew Scott, posted Jul 2nd 2009 12:00PM
Hilary Duff and Paula Abdul

Hilary Duff books a multi-episode role on 'Gossip Girl,' Paula Abdul gets in touch with her inner 'Diva,' Wentworth Miller returns to the small screen and more TV news.

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A Match Game fan remembers Fred Travalena

by Joel Keller, posted Jun 29th 2009 3:06PM
Fred TravalenaThe sad news just keeps on coming: comedian and impressionist Fred Travalena passed away yesterday, losing a battle with cancer at the age of 66. For those of you who have no idea who I'm talking about (and, believe me, those numbers are legion), Travalena was big on the talk show and game show circuit in the '70s, doing impressions of everyone from Robert De Niro to George Burns to Jimmy Carter.

As a nerdly kid who rarely left the house after school, however, Travalena is best known to me as a panelist during the latter years of my favorite game show, Match Game. After the jump is the only MG-related clip I could find with Travalena, where he does an impression of De Niro on the short-lived Match Game Hollywood Squares Hour in the early '80s. (Warning: you need to turn the volume up to hear it).

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Billy Mays died of heart disease, says autopsy

by Joel Keller, posted Jun 29th 2009 2:16PM
Billy MaysIf you're wearing blue to pay tribute Billy Mays, you were probably as shocked by the pitchman's death as I was. Heck, I was even more surprised by Billy's passing than I was by Michael Jackson's. The guy seemed as healthy as a horse, sporting nothing more than the slight beer gut anyone of his age that's not a fitness fanatic and lives the good life is likely to have.

So in a perverse way, some of us approaching middle age were hoping that the cause of Billy's death could have been explained by the bump on the head he got after his flight had a rough landing the day before he died. We figured it was a delayed response to head trauma, a la what happened to Natasha Richardson earlier this year.

But autopsy results, verified by Billy Mays III on his Twitter feed, showed that there was no head trauma. Mays simply died of heart disease.

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Busy night for network news: Michael Jackson tribute to air with a Farrah tribute

by Joel Keller, posted Jun 25th 2009 8:02PM
Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson... both of whom died today
Wow. Busy day in celebrity deaths. First we hear that Farrah Fawcett finally lost her battle to cancer, then suddenly we hear that, after being rushed to a LA hospital in cardiac arrest, Michael Jackson also died. He was only 50, and he was about to embark on a comeback concert stint in London that he hoped would revive his career.

ABC News was already scrambling to move up the Farrah special they had planned to air on 20/20 this coming Friday. That special, where Barbara Walters interviews Ryan O'Neal, will be shown tonight at 10 PM ET. They also just announced that they will be airing an MJ retrospective at 9 PM ET.

Other networks are following suit with their own specials, according to THR.com.

It's interesting how most news outlets aside from Fox didn't confirm MJ's death even though our friends at TMZ had the news first. I guess it wasn't legitimate enough for them. Either way, it's a shockingly sad day in the entertainment biz, no matter what you may have thought of Farrah or Jackson.

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CNN examines Atlanta bus crash

by Adam Finley, posted Mar 9th 2007 12:02PM

busMost of you have probably heard about the tragic bus accident that took the lives of six people last Friday: a bus carrying the Bluffton University baseball team to Florida crashed over a guard rail near Atlanta and crashed onto the highway thirty feet below. Six people were killed in the accident.

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Remembering Muppeteer Richard Hunt - VIDEO

by Adam Finley, posted Jan 7th 2007 6:03PM

richard huntJim Henson passed away in 1990, but two years later, on this very day, we also lost another important Muppet performer: Richard Hunt. Hunt joined Henson for several of the Muppets' appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show, and eventually joined Sesame Street, performing characters such as Forgetful Jones and Don Music. On The Muppet Show, he performed Beaker, Janice of The Electric Mayhem, Statler (one of the old men in the balcony) and Scooter (whose Uncle owned the theater).

Hunt also performed half of the Two-Headed Monster on Sesame Street along with Henson. The chemistry on stage between Henson and Frank Oz is often talked about, but Hunt was equally brilliant when working with Henson, as the hilarious exchanges between Statler and Waldorf prove. Casual fans may not hear much about him, but he was an important element in bringing that zany Muppetness to the TV screen.

I placed some clips of Hunt's characters below for your enjoyment, so, enjoy them.

[via Muppet News Flash]

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Sid Raymond, voice of Baby Huey, dead at 97

by Adam Finley, posted Dec 3rd 2006 6:30PM

sid raymondMan, no sooner do I finish typing up a post about the passing of animation composer Shirley Walker when I find out via Cartoon Brew that another person from the world of animated entertainment has passed away. This time it's Sid Raymond, an actor who appeared in both television and radio and was the voice of both Baby Huey and Katnip for Famous Studios. Raymond also appeared in a series of commercials for Schlitz Beer in the 1960s as a goofy bartender. Over his career, Raymond appeared in over 400 TV shows, though he never gained the popularity held by those he acted alongside, such as Paul Newman and Ernie Kovacs.

Mark Evanier writes about the actor, and includes a video of an old Baby Huey cartoon. I've also placed the video after the jump, for those of you who remember baby Huey and those of you who want to know who the heck that is.

The picture on the left shows Sid Raymond (in headphones) and cartoon historian Jerry Beck.

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Robert Altman dies at 81

by Julia Ward, posted Nov 21st 2006 12:47PM
Robert AltmanFilmmaker and iconoclast Robert Altman died Monday evening in Los Angeles at the age of 81. While his legacy is firmly rooted in the cinematic realm with films like Nashville, MASH and The Player to his credit, television wouldn't be the same with him.

Altman's career actually started in television in the early 1950s. He directed dozens of television episodes for shows like Combat! and Bonanza, as well as the short-lived, but critically-acclaimed 1997 series Gun, which followed the history of a single gun as it passed through different owners and scenarios. The mini-series Tanner '88 is still the guidepost for political satire in film and television. His film MASH, of course, became a revolutionary television series of the same name.

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Jack Warden dead at 85

by Joel Keller, posted Jul 21st 2006 7:33PM
Jack WardenUsually Bob takes care of celebrity obits, but i found out that Jack Warden, one of my favorite character actors, died on Wednesday at 85, I definitely wanted to give my thoughts.

Warden's played just about every gruff role you could imagine in television and movies, from quality productions like All the President's Men and The Verdict (where he used the phrase "he's the prince of fucking darkness" long before Ozzy did), to utter crapola like The Replacements. He's played more coaches, owners, managers, and editors than a person could count.

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